Kelsey Star Jobber restore update

Hello folks,

Since a couple people asked that I post updates as I work to get my Star Jobber up and running, I figured I’d indulge, as I’m having fun and learning so much!

From my last post over a month ago:

- I had the treadle brazed by a talented local welder and it looks and holds beautifully.
- I’ve talked with SO MANY people both on the phone and corresponded via email… Tom from T&T Press is having my missing feedboard arms fabricated. He graciously took arms off a press he had to get all the proper measurements. He’s also working to get cores and trucks fabricated, and having rollers made for them. He also tracked down a chase for me. (I also learned that not all 7x11 chases are created equal… gotta love capitalism and proprietary parts!)
- Bill Allen sold me his last Amish-made swivel post and brace for the yet-to-be-made feed/delivery boards.
- I had friends make a really nice skid for the press as I was worried about the soft wood flooring in my apartment, and the old cross beams underneath the floor.
- I moved the press with a lift gate truck that I was able to borrow from the grounds crew at work. Whew!

The press is now located in my living room, as my studio is full. I imagine it’ll make a nice conversation piece!

The last couple days, I’ve been gently brushing rust off with a soft brass brush and cleaning, cleaning, cleaning with WD40. I can see gold paint peaking out from under grime now! I’ve been using liquid wrench, a drill bit, and q-tips to clean clogged oil points. The press is already moving more smoothly. Also, I keep the vacuum running as I clean the press, which controls nasty dust in the house.

I imagine I’ll be cleaning the press for the next several weeks in my spare time.

Any helpful advice is always welcome. Thanks for your interest!

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Log in to reply   13 replies so far

If it lives in your living room when you’re not printing with it it can double as a nut cracker.

Sounds like a great party trick.

Use a drill bit not q-tips to clean out the oil holes. Turning it by hand.

The press is looking good — keep us informed on further progress. It’s great to see a somewhat rare beastie like that coming back to life.


If anyone needs an Ink disc for your Kelsey Star, we have one. Contact us if we can help you get your press up and running.
That is a very handsome skid, nicely done.


The q-tips were soaked in liquid wrench, to keep it from running all over the place. They were only left in place for 15 minutes between cleanings. I am certain that no cotton fibers were left in the points.

Thanks everyone!

I heard you were wondering if I had any clue about estimating the age of your Star. Well I may be old, but not that old. I didn’t start working at Kelsey until 1972, and the Star units had gone out of production well before then. Sorry I can’t be of any help in that regard.


Ha! Thanks anyway, Pete!

Wow - looking good! Thanks for sharing your update and photos. Encouraging for all of us plodding away at getting presses up and running again.

love to see more pitures

Nice work.

I use both q-tips and threaded rod to clean the oil holes on old presses I work on. Threaded rod first (it’s very easy to twist), to get all the major gunk out.

WD-40 and Q-tips to clean the inside of the holes, then WD-40 (or a real penetrating oil) to flush out the oil channels, then eventually 30-weight non-detergent oil for regular oiling.

Too often, clogged oil holes prevent lubrication from reaching the areas it needs to. Cleaning those oil holes can really make a difference in how smoothly the press operates…

I’ve had my Kelsey Star for almost 15 years. I use it to produce wood block art prints. I only recently discovered that it’s missing the front feed table and table arms. I know this thread is old but I’m hoping some of you might be able to help me get replacement arms made? Any links or resources would be much appreciated. Cheers!

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Hi Dylanraven, I don’t know where to get parts but I have a Star if you want measurements, photos, etc. You could also start a new post specifically asking if anyone has those arms.

You could have a metal fabricator or woodworker make a table and arms according to how you’d like it. (E.g. asymmetrical, etc. I made my own table this way.)